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Monday, October 18, 2010

They Used to Call Me Quick Draw Till Boots

After hearing on the weather channel that there was "a dusting" in the upper peninsula, I figured I'd better get back and finish my drawing of my Snow Boots. As much as I dislike the idea of wearing them,if you-know-what falls in my backyard, I might have to put them on and ruin my still life set up. I'd never be able to get the laces in the exact same position.

Some drawings take a minute or two to complete, others take days. Snow Boots is the later. What you see here is an hour and twenty minutes spent yesterday. Then there was the initial drawing a couple of weeks ago. And tomorrow there will be more time put into this as I finish this shoe and move over to the next.

A detailed drawing is time consuming,a sketch isn't. Most of the drawings I've done for this blog are indeed sketches,done very quickly--twenty minutes or less, a half hour to an hour was a lot. The Birmingham Theater is an excellent example of a dash off. I put my pen down on the paper and let it go. The street scene was drawn "automatically." The details didn't have to be explicit, only suggestions. They didn't count--I was drawing the action on the street, not what the lamp posts looked like. Tuna Bowl was a fifteen minute sketch of light, shadow, reflection, recorded simply with no details to dwell upon. Boots has details and is being drawn close and personal. Those boots with those laces and that lighting require slow and steady deliberation.

In the drawing gallery at the museum, there's both short term sketches and long term drawings. I love the drawing gallery. There's always a new exhibit. They rotate the drawings often, so don't plan to see what you loved last time the next time you visit. They rotate the drawings often, because exposure to light--just artificial light mind you--has a drying effect on the papers. Constant rotation keeps the museum's collection safe. The fragility of the works and the fact your favorites might not be seen again for years, is what makes this gallery so special and a place to visit often.

Yet,there's very few visitors. I can always get front row to see the artist's handiwork with pencil or pen, sometimes enhanced with washes. It's my guess the public thinks less of drawings (or not at all) and more of paintings so passes the little gallery by on their way to see the big stuff. That's surprises to me. There's not a painting or a sculpture in that museum that didn't begin with a drawing or twenty done fast and slow before hitting the canvas or the block of stone. Drawing is where concepts are explored and developed. Drawing is where art begins.


  1. You are absolutely right... It all starts from a drawing... Frankly, I prefer pen and ink drawings.. are u familiar w/Charles Bragg? my inlaws have a few of his pen and ink drawings and I hope one day, that I can inherit one of his infamous ones... Drawings seem to have more detail, maybe because they are done w/pencil or ink..

  2. I love pen and ink, straight. When washes are added, the drawing has been compromised--fudged for some reason. I like pencil too--particularly when used for architectural drawings or portraits.The range of grays are limitless. Then there was this guy who only used Rapidiograph pens to make dots;the more dots, the heavier the shading. He did cityscapes. One drawing,no bigger than 18 x 24, took him a month plus to complete. His work was amazing. I worried about his eyes.

  3. Dear Linda,
    Great post I really enjoyed. Very interesting, your talk of time. You're an amazingly quick drawer! I was recommended to use pen and quill for illustration, but do not feel comfy. (*In my art friends, no one loves a marker except an architecture guy). So, your art work was sensational and fresh How confidently and merrily, you draw lines with pen, handling value properly! At once, I began to follow your blog. Another great bonus was your great sense of humor!! Hope you can finish the boots.
    Cheers, Sadami

  4. Drawing is definitely important. A good skill to have for artists in all mediums, not just painting. When I was in art school, many sculptural students didn't want to learn to draw.

    I have short attention span... hence sketches are for me :). I am looking forward to seeing how your boots turn out.

  5. Me too Evelyn. That type of drawing is tedious--requires a lot of stand up, stretch and walk around the room breaks. Whereas sketches, one, two, three and you're done. Who wouldn't like those best. Plus they usually come out more lively than the studied drawings like my boots which will probably turn out static--but then static is what they should be. I really hope the snow skips us this year.